According to police, the accused dragged the woman to an empty plot near the Thondapalli toll plaza in Shamshabad late on Wednesday night and raped her, one after another. One of the accused is believed to have smothered her while raping her so that her screams could be muzzled. She is believed to have suffocated and died.
The men then took the body in a truck to Shadnagar where they found an underpass on the highway. They set the body ablaze there.
Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar told reporters that the four men – lorry drivers Mohammed Areef, 26, and C Chennakeshavulu, 20, along with two helpers J Shiva and J Naveen – hatched the plan to rape the woman when they saw her park her scooter at the toll plaza in Shamshabad on Wednesday evening. The woman took a cab to Gachibowli and returned to pick up the scooter at around 9pm only to find that one of the wheels had been deflated. According to police, it was done by the accused.
Areef then approached the woman on the pretext of helping her. Shiva took the scooter away saying he would have the tyre fixed. The other three dragged her to an empty plot nearby and raped her. Shiva too returned and raped her.
The cops said Areef smothered her because she was screaming for help and the men were afraid she would be heard by passersby.
The crime took place between 9.35pm and 10pm, they added. “The men then put the body in the waiting truck, drove on the highway for some distance and bought both petrol and diesel from a petrol pump,” Sajjanar said. “When they found an isolated spot, they dumped the body there and set it on fire with the fuel they had bought. We tracked down the accused with the help of human intelligence and CCTV footage.”
The brutal crime drew nationwide condemnation from people in all walks of life. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “How anyone could subject another human being to such terrible, unprovoked violence is beyond imagination. My thoughts & prayers are with the victim’s family.”
“What those men did to… is another dark reminder of how unsafe we’ve allowed our society to become by not delivering swift and telling justice in these cases..!” tweeted film personality Farhan Akhtar.
Telugu film actor Rakulpreet Singh tweeted, “Its high time we as a nation instil fear in people’s minds so no one dares to even think about committing a crime so horrific.”
The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault